A.J. Ayer: A Life

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Freddie Ayer (1910-89) was one of the most influential philosophers of his generation, while his television and radio appearances, especially in the original `Brains Trust', made him Britain's first 'media philosopher'. In this lively, penetrating study - the first, fully authorised, biography - Ben Rogers relates Ayer's ideas to his remarkable life, strangely troubled beneath its glamorous surface. The 'quintessentially British' thinker was the only child of a Swiss-French father and Dutch-Jewish mother; after a lonely childhood he found his true role at Oxford. A friend of Isaiah Berlin, and a follower first of Bertrand Russell, and then of Wittgenstein. Ayer won fame at twenty-four with his brilliantly iconoclastic LANGUAGE, TRUTH AND LOGIC - an essential text for students ever since. Ben Rogers shows Ayer at work, in London, Oxford and America, and also at play, as a passionate follower of cricket and football, a great dancer, a lover of witty conversation and beautiful women. Married four times, Ayer was a leading figure in London 'cafe society', yet he was also a controversial public figure and broadcaster, vehemently left-wing in the 1930s, and later President of the British Humanist Association and the Homosexual Law Reform Society. Colourful, inimate, zestful and often poignant, this is a powerful biography.

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A.J. AYER: A Life

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A sympathetic treatment of one of the 20th century's best-known British philosophers.When the chips are down it might be as tempting to criticize a philosopher who failed in his bold attempts to ... Read full review

A. J. Ayer: a life

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For those who picture philosophers as otherworldly creatures with no lives of their own outside of the classroom, this biography will come as a pleasant surprise. Ayer (1910-89) lived an exciting ... Read full review


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About the author (1999)

Ben Rogers reviews regularly for the TLS, Guardian and Independent on Sunday. He is the author of Pascal: In Praise of Vanity.

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